The Aldi fightback is on: Morrisons records fourth consecutive quarter of growth

 
Rebecca Smith
Morrisons introduced a premium range this quarter
Morrisons introduced a premium range this quarter (Source: Getty)

After the devastating news that Morrisons was hiking the price of Marmite, it needed a good third quarter.

And it has delivered the fourth consecutive quarter of growth, with sales up 1.6 per cent. Potentially a sign of, whisper it quietly, momentum building?

The figures

The 13 weeks to 30 October, like-for-like sales were up 1.6 per cent, while total sales excluding fuel were down 1.2 per cent.

Like-for-like transactions rose 4.1 per cent. Morrisons introduced a premium range during this quarter, called The Best. So far so good on that front. The supermarket said the launch of hundreds of products has been successful and more will be introduced in the run-up to Christmas.

Halloween was its biggest yet; seasonal sales were up around 20 per cent year-on-year.

The supermarket's net debt target remains around £1.2bn by year end.

The hard work is paying off so far: shares in Morrisons are up 46 per cent this year. That makes it the best-performing British grocer, not too shabby.

Why it's interesting

Well, it was revealed that Tesco upped its market share for the first time in five years earlier this month and while the rise of the discounters continues (Aldi and Lidl's sales were up 11.4 per cent and 8.4 per cent), Morrisons' progress is encouraging.

It's been tricky for the supermarket stalwarts to reassert themselves with growing pressure from the low-cost competitors, so four quarters on the trot recording sales growth is not to be sniffed at. There is though, still much work to be done; the growth is a slowdown after a strong second quarter, but it's an improvement on the start of the year.

What the company said

Chief executive David Potts said:

Our like-for-like sales have now been positive for a year, which is thanks to the hard work and dedication of the whole Morrisons team. There is a lot more we plan to do. We will keep investing in becoming more competitive and improving the shopping trip, and I am confident we will serve our customers even better during the important trading period ahead.

In short

Slow but steady wins the race and Morrisons isn't storming ahead, but it's picking up pace in a difficult environment.

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